Millie's Homemade Ice Cream Scoop Shop Now Open
Chad and Lauren Townsend's Shadyside ice cream parlor is a treat.
Photos by Adam Milliron
The Millie’s Homemade Ice Cream scoop shop now is open in Shadyside in the space formerly occupied by Oh Yeah! Ice Cream and Coffee. Owners Chad and Lauren Townsend organized a complete redesign of the space, which now features welcoming pink-and-white striped walls, a clever “how did the ice cream get from there to here” mural and a portrait of Millie (Chad’s maternal grandmother).
The Townsends started selling ice cream under the Millie’s brand last summer. It’s been a hit with Pittsburgh eaters since day one.
(Necessary disclosure: I’m good friends with the Townsends. Chad and I often eat wings and drink beer together.)
Chad Townsend is the former executive chef of Salt of the Earth (for more on Townsend’s backstory, see my Grow.Cook.Drink. column in the upcoming April issue of Pittsburgh Magazine), and he’s now taking a culinary approach with his ice cream making.
There are 12 flavors available at the scoop shop. Some, such as Chad’s Vanilla and the addictive salted caramel (one of my favorites in a group of universally strong contenders), will be available year-round. Other flavors will be seasonal, occasionally even fleeting. To this end, the Townsends are working with local farmers to source their products.
“I brought one ton of peaches and nectarines from Penn’s Corner last year. We burned through them. We’re going to use a lot more than that this year,” Chad Townsend says.
Right now, the pear sorbet is at the top of my seasonal treats. The luscious Vietnamese coffee ice cream also is a great way to transition from winter into spring.
Ice cream is served by the scoop, packed into a house-made waffle cone or inside a gently-warmed brioche sandwich.
All the ice cream is made from scratch from milk pasteurized at Millie’s Homewood plant. They’re one of just two Pittsburgh-area operations (Mercurio’s is the other) that begin their process with something other than a pre-made base.
“By starting from scratch I can alter the recipes in any way I want to. If we do butter pecan ice cream I could use brown sugar without having to go to a dairy to ask for a special mix,” Townsend says.
What I love about Millie’s is that the Townsends are producing a product of exceedingly high quality, but they’re doing it in a way that feels like it has an old-time comfort to it. Even though it’s a high-end ice cream, there’s a refreshing lack of preciousness to the operation. You’re going to feel like you’re visiting a neighborhood ice cream parlor; you’ll also be eating something much better while doing it.